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open to remote nations the rare entirely in the keeping of these products of human skill and intel- mighty personages as at first blush ligence ? Before three years are they might seem to be ; and a over, I feel certain the New Zea- European sovereign, accompanied landers will be slaughtering our by his prime minister, strongly refellow-countrymen with six-shoot- minds one of those smart four-iners from Sheffield, and many a hands which young gentlemen, just patriot in Siberia will carry on his come of age, affect to drive-having wrists the “last thing in handcuffs" previously secured a clever coachthat Birmingham has turned out. man, who sits on the near side of
We have been told, however, that the box, and holds himself ready to the sovereigns who have assembled take the ribbons whenever the nags at Paris did not resort there for show signs of being unmanageable. vulgar sight - seeing - that they "Touch that wheeler, your honour; made the Exhibition a mere pre- make that grey come up to his coltext, and came there just as an lar,” whispers coachee; and so does astute diplomatist may occasionally · your Czar or Kaiser take in his be seen to saunter into an opera- statecraft from Gortschakoffor box, little caring, indeed, for the Beust, well knowing the whole time legs of the ballet, but very eager to that all his driving is at best but hunt out the secret of some floating amateurship, and that if it should rumour, and the meaning of some come to an ugly bit of road, or a cunning move on the part of a col- block on the way, the sooner he releague ; and this explanation is signs the reins the better. Louis possibly not remote from the truth. Napoleon, however, affects to be his Fortunately or unfortunately for own coachman, and that drive to the world—I'm not very sure which Mexico shows with what success. —these illustrious personages have As for the King of Prussia, he has not many occasions when they can taken to the ribbons late in life, meet each other. Setting aside and never properly understood what minor considerations, the world good coaching is. All his early exkeeps a too jealous watch on all periences were in a one-horse buggy, their movements; and the fluctua- and it is rather startling to the best tions of the Stock Exchange reflect of nerves to sit behind four fiery too sensitively even their very nags, while your coachman is perslightest steps to make such things petually chirping
and gee-hupping possible. It is somewhat humili- to them, as M. Bismark will do, ating to own it, but it is the simple no matter whether there are carts fact, that the Emperor of Russia in the way or closed toll-bars right could not drink the waters of in front of them. Vichy, nor the King of Prussia cor- Now if these people really wanted rect his acidity with Carlsbad, to show us that they could drive, without inflicting ruin on many a why don't they come out without respectable family, and bringing the coachman Leave Beust and desolation and misery into many a Bismark at home, and let us see household. We never can bring our- how you'll tool the team. I'd like selves to believe that these people to have seen how Louis Napoleon are not scheming and plotting himself would have got round that We cannot be brought to admit that sharp corner at Luxemburg if one these are passing moments in their of our people hadn't told him to lives, when they can think of “that lie by for a moment till that lumpoor creature, small beer.”
bering old Prussian eilwagen bad It is true there is something re- passed. It is a simple fact that they assuring in the thought that the all drive precious badly, and the destinies of the world are not so only fellows who make a good figure on the road are such as have wit quence is, there is no name for enough to keep a clever coachman, the extravagance of their demands. and give him a liberal allowance for They insist not only on enormous the stable.
wages, but all the stable patronage The Press of Europe-for though and perquisites. They know their we in England began the movement importance, and they take precious all the others are at it now hard and care you should know it also; and fast-are strenuously advising eco- they are always ready to say, “Suit nomy and retrenchment. They say yourself, sir,” to the master; “ I'm that if one would consent to drive going to live with the gentleman a pair, or even a single horse, the over the way.” others would soon follow, and thus Now there's not a doubt that for a considerable saving be effected— one man who can drive four-in-hand no bad thing, when it is remembered well you will find five hundred who that in this passion of rivalry and can tool a tax-cart, and if you choose display we are all living beyond our to come down to the humble equipmeans. What they say is, These age you will not be so cruelly exflashy equipages are things of the posed to the insolent demands of a past; our ancestors affected them, self-important flunkey. These halfjust as they affected a score of other dozen fellows-for, as I have said barbarisms that we are intelligent above, there are not more of them enough to have renounced; the — might strike to-morrow, and spirit of our age rejects such where should we all be, I ask you, things; men have grown more if they were to declare that they'd moderate in themselves and more not drive any more, under heaven considerate towards others; and knows what conditions ? that vulgar desire for display does Seriously, however, this sugnot belong to our era. And they gestion of economy and reduced add, The first man who takes to the expenditure, to have had any chance road with a one-horse buggy will of success, should not have come be the most popular person in from England. The difficulty Europe.
with which we maintain a very Not only do these advocates of re- small army at its full complement, trenchment show the great benefit and the disfavour with which our that will accrue from a diminished people, in their sturdy independexpenditure, and the opportunity ence, regard all military service, are that such will offer for more profit- facts patent to all. That we grudge able employ of money, but they go the cost of a force which makes the on to enumerate all the accidents patrol of the globe is but too well and calamities that have come of known ; nor has a minister any so reckless driving, and the frequent sure and short a road to popularity collisions which we hear of in every in England as by cutting down the part of Europe ; and lastly, they army estimates. Foreigners seeing advert to a fact which, though ap- this, and reading, as they do, the parently a small one, has a wonder- debates in our House, naturally ful significance and a deep import- say, “England feels all the inferioance, when one comes to think of rity her diminished military power it. What they say is this, These inflicts upon her, and as she cannot costly equipages, and these mettle- come up to us, pleasantly suggests some teams, require a first-rate hand that we should come down to her." on the box, or a smash is inevitable. In fact, it is pretty like the proposiNow, in all Europe you can count tion of a commercial traveller, that these coachees on your fingers. I for the future no man should drive doubt very much if there are in anything but a one-horse tax-cart. reality six of them. The conse- Continental nations, however, bave other ambitions than trade successes. better, cry the reforming peace I am not going to defend or attack party, it is all that we ask for. Ay, them, but I am forced to admit, but do you expect the Emperor of that the spirit which for some years the French or the Czar to accept back has animated our people, is these views ? Is it likely that these not that of the rest of Europe, and great rulers will see their power Louis Napoleon-though possibly depart from them without any the utterance was not very discreet equivalent, or at least any equiva-was not wide of the mark when lent on which they set value? Is he declared that the greatness of a not military power the very essence nation was in the direct ratio of of Continental sovereignty? Do the squares of its standing army. you imagine that these deliberative Not only, then, was England want- assemblies they call “ Chambers" ing in the high authority to speak are anything but fair-weather conon such a subject, but her advice, trivances, to be stowed away when when she gave it, became naturally the gale freshens and the sea runs matter of suspicion. "Cut off your high? How long do you believe leg,” cries the wooden-legged man, they will be endured after they "and I'll run you for a hundred have dared to offer an opposition yards.” But I don't think the biped to him who has made them? is obliged to recognise the challenge. Let us bear in mind that EngNow, had the notion of disarma- lish greatness is not foreign greatment originated with France or ness ; our ideas on this score are Russia, the prospect of its being as unlike those of any Continental favourably entertained would have opinion as are our notions about been far greater. These are great food or dress, literature or law; military powers, and a reduction of and indeed if we wanted to make their strength would be something converts, we could far more easily more than a diminished means of induce foreigners to eat underdone offence. It would imply a total beef and read Miss Braddon, than change of policy. To send back to adopt any suggestion we could the fields and the factories hundreds offer on military matters. of thousands of men—to habituate Not only have we relinquished them to the independence of the all pretensions to increase of empeasant or the town labourer—to pire, but there would seem a sort attach them to the soil by the ties of rivalry amongst our statesmen of family, and elevate their lives as to how best we could get rid of by the hope of betterment—would much that we have; and it would be to effect a total revolution, and be a kind of success for a Colonial such a revolution as neither Czar Secretary to be able to tell us that nor Emperor has yet dreamed Canada was gone and Australia of.
was going. The smaller our possesGarrick, the poet tells us, sions, the easier to watch them; and “ Cast off his friends like a huntsman his the theory is, the fewer the sheep, pack,
the less need of a herdsman. There For he knew when he pleased he could is no denying this, although one may whistle them back."
not exactly say that he accepts all But is it quite sure, if a general the consequences with satisfaction. disarmament took place through The theory, however, gains advoEurope, and should endure, say cates every day; and the man who for six years, that you could ever will rise in his place, and declare whistle back your recruits — or is that we ought to restore Gibraltar it not more than likely that the to Spain, and give Malta to Italy, system of the conscription would will have a more astounding popu. be doomed for ever? So much the larity than even he who annibi
lated the compound householder. counsels a reduction of all military These peculiarities of statesman- power on the Continent, I am struck ship are, however, essentially Eng- as if I heard that Bavaria declared lish--they belong to us, and to no she was ready to diminish her one else. They are ours, like Pro- navy! If I were like the corretestantism, and Respectability, and spondent of a certain clever journal Bitter Beer; all the more ours that that we all know of, I could prono one would rob us of them. The bably tell how Alexander, or Frenation which professes that she derick William, or Franz Joseph, does not care to keep what she has, enjoyed the joke of this purely can scarcely preach with profit to English hint. I might even be those whose desire is to have what able to add what his Majesty or does not belong to them.
his Imperial Highness observed If, in a holy horror at Turf atroci- to me at supper on the subject; ties—to which certain recent scan- but as I have no access to such dals have given additional point- august company, I can only imMr Bright should openly declare agine with what dry humour they that he had abandoned all idea of must chat over the suggestion, and a racing establishment, the an- how sarcastically laugh at the nouncement would scarcely carry nation of shopkeepers for daring to with it the same amount of enforced dictate to the nations of gladiators. conviction as if it came from Lord Suum cuique-we make capital Hastings or Sir Joseph Hawley; cotton stockings and some exceland so, when I read that England lent crockery.
AN ADIEU TO OUR VILLAGE.
There is a well-known story of said have been to introduce reforms a poor prisoner for debt, who, into the Marshalsea. having obtained his liberation by I cannot believe that the prisoner some general act of grace, ardently really liked his prison- liked its begged he might be permitted to daily discipline, its uniform round end his days in the durance to of small observances, its dietary, which some forty odd years had or its company. I cannot imagine accustomed him. I never thor- that any man could be so constioughly understood the force of tuted that the want of freedom this poor fellow's logic till a few alone would not have weighed days ago, when, by the accidents heavily on his heart, and impressed of life, the incident came home to him with a painful sense of inferimyself.
ority in comparison with the meanI, too, am about to be liberated. est of those who were free and at I am set free to quit the village in large. Nor can I picture to myself which, for nigh twenty years, I a creature whose mind would not have been a sojourner. Not, in- stray at times beyond the walls of deed, essentially a prisoner, in the his cell, and revel in some old resense of high walls and strong bolts; membered spot dear to his boybut all as much bound by the little bood and bright in all the colours ties of life to pass an existence of early youth; but I can well conwithin certain narrow limits, and ceive how, by the slow march of conform to the ways and habits of time, another nature gradually supa place, which, had I made the planted the old one - how the attempt, I should have found my- usages of a life of unbroken uniself as unable to change or alter, formity, bit by bit, entered into as would the humble debtor afore- his very soul, and the outer world, the world outside the high walls, know not. I but vouch for the became to him as mythical as any fact. I will not go so far as to thing that may go on in one of the say we were hopeful of human planets.
nature generally; for hope is a In many respects our village was prospective quality, and we were wonderfully like a jail. First of all too essentially wrapped up in all, the mode of life was singularly the present to waste a thought on regular and monotonous. Every what was to come : but we had one did exactly like his neighbour great store of that charity which -our dress, our diet, our hours of thinketh well of all things—and up-rising and down-lying, were all what a balm must it have been identical; we took pleasure in the to many a crushed and wounded same amusements; and had we spirit to have known that there ever arrived at the sensation of was one small spot in Europe, a sorrowing for anything or deplor- mere village if you will, where ing anything, I am sure our griefs no memory of bygones could reach would have been as identical as bim! or if they came, could they our joys; and lastly, as in a prison, affect his fame or touch his foreach was there for something he tune! Wolves and lambs, we all had either done or had omitted to lay down together, with the tacit do,—and here was a bond of fellow- understanding that the habits were ship stronger and more enduring to be those of a peaceful sheepthan any other in all existence. fold, and that in these pasturages,
No one who has not worn the at least, none was to devour his convict's jacket can form the slight- neighbour. And now I am going est conception of the good-fellow- to leave all this, and to venture ship of the galleys. There is a upon a new penitentiary, where I freemasonry in fetters that passes don't even know one of my fellowall the mysteries of Noble Grands prisoners, nor have I as much as and Black Princes. The fact is, seen the turnkey. that everything in life has a re- No wonder if I grow heavylative significancy-we are rich or hearted if I think of it. I had poor, strong or weak, great or in- grown so habituated to all here significant, according to what im- that life cost me no effort. I went mediately surrounds us; and the as a steamer does after the coat which would pass muster very has ceased revolving, -creditably in St Giles's would be smoothly, quietly, wavelessly-getmarvellous bad wear in Bond Street ting each moment nearer to the or Piccadilly. So is it of morals. mooring; and now I have to get up Now, in our village, there were steam and be off to a new roadpossibly some small things that a stead. rigid moralist might have demurred Has it ever, most bland reader, to. I will not say that there might been your fate, when seated at a not have been, here and there, very pleasant little dinner with passing occasion for censure on familiar and fond faces around you, this or on that; but one virtue I to have received a sudden order boldly claim for us, and I chal- from His Imperial Highness the lenge Europe to dare a rivalry Grand-Duke of Kamtschatka, or with it. We were, and we are, the Hospadar of Taganraggenoff, eminently tolerant. Whether this to dine with him-an invitation great quality came of the large- which is a command, and to accept ness of our natures generally, or which you have to make a hurried of that long and intimate study of exit from your friends, and hasten human frailty which passed under off with all speed to invest yourself our eyes, or of both combined, I in gold lace and embroidery, to